Live from BEA

This post comes from the floor of the Javits Center, where BEA is in full swing, and where—in flagrant contravention of my own plan to  travel light–I have acquired an armload of galleys, posters, postcards, business cards, blads, and countless pieces of candy.  I now have an extra tote bag to lug my swag, deep red welts in my shoulders for my efforts, and a profound sense of contentment  (numb arms nothwithstanding).


As ever, I have far too much reading to do to even consider cracking open one of these new ARCs, but it’s always possible that on the train home this evening, one might slip from my bag, accidentally fall open in my lap, and keep me captive for the duration of the ride.


Book Expo is a terrific opportunity to meet with out of town publishers, say hello to New York colleagues whom I see all too rarely, and survey the coming season of books.  Also to learn a few things (and not just the location of the “secret” ladies’ room with no line). On Tuesday I attended a  thought provoking conference on book marketing, hosted by the online magazine Publishing Perspectives.  I was curious to note that Harper Collins has hired a VP of “Consumer Insight” to better understand—and ideally grow—its audience, while  Jo Henry  of the global market research company Bowker brought me up short by predicting the demise  of bookstores and traditional review outlets inside five years. Gulp.  I don’t actually agree,  but in the event she’s correct, I’d better hurry to my next meeting.

9 Responses to Live from BEA

  1. Kevin A. Lewis says:

    Pardon me, but Jo Henry is handing you a sales pitch for a product she’s hawking, not an accurate summation of where readers are going-a lot of people are moving over to e-book and smartphone reading, but for the most part these people never had very deep reading habits anyway; always remember Harold Ramis’ deadpan line in Ghostbusters, “Print is dead…” It’s been 30 years and we’re still waiting. Any interesting book buzz to report? We used to hear about this from PW, but these days they don’t even bother to mention the BEA.

    • Kevin A. Lewis says:

      Sorry, I forgot to add, “until it’s over”. As opposed to previous years when you got pre coverage and updates as it was happening.

    • G. Kachman says:

      Re: “The death of print.” I used to have a day job as a medical transcriptionist. The older transcriptionists were convinced voice recognition technology would never reach a point that someone (typically female) wouldn’t be sitting in front of some contraption, typing, and making good money.

      Well, we are reaching that point, or should I say “point and click” – now health care professionals can DIY their own medical reports with voice recognition, boilerplate phrases and/or check boxes, or have someone referred to as a “scribe” follow them around all day, performing the same task for around $10/hour (not the well-paying job medical transcription used to be).

      There are kids in elementary school now, for whom computers are as ordinary and ubiquitous as “TV sets,” as they used to be called. I happen to love physical books (although not lugging them around). But for kids who are 6 and 7 years old? They may have zero attachment to physical books when they hit their teen years – except maybe a few beloved children’s books, anime, etc. Not a five-year timeline perhaps, but there is a horizon there. Not sure what’s on other side of it, but I have to wonder.

  2. Kevin A. Lewis says:

    OK, so I just found a PW thing about BEA from April…Damn you, Starbucks!(And I still think PW’s pretty anemic)

  3. Kevin A. Lewis says:

    OK,(and not getting into the whole medical mafia 10 bucks an hour equals 10 thousand on the billing end thing) but I’m in the library right now next to a couple of 8 and 10 year old girls doing a PC search for…print books! Maybe we are eventually heading for a THX 1138 dystopia of some kind, but asteroids and disease vectors have a way of sidetracking such happy scenerios…

  4. G. Kachman says:

    Re: THX 1138 – had to look that up, Galaxy Quest is more my speed when it comes to sci-fi :)

    Would be interesting to see stats from public library, demographic vs. print vs. eBook. Not sure what offerings they have for children in eBooks though.

  5. Kevin A. Lewis says:

    Galaxy Quest is a lot more fun, but it’s always nice to expand one’s cinematic horizons… (Try Mars Need Women if you really want to surf the edge.) And I think the latest BEA buzz seems to indicate that e-readers and print are starting to level out in relation to each other. there’s always a certain amount of “fad bump” involved whenever a new toy comes on the market.

  6. Kellie Lovegrove says:

    I have an e-reader, more out of the fact that my husband had already downloaded a lot of books I wanted to read to his and we couldn’t justify spending the money twice. However, I still love paper books. Nothing is better than picking out a new-to-me book at the store, pulling it out of the bag as soon as I get home, and giving the pages a quick flip through. I also take a minute to smell the pages. Don’t ask me why, just something I do (kind of like Doug Dorsey smelling the ice in The Cutting Edge). I refuse to go completely digital until I get my book scented air freshener. 😛

  7. G. Kachman says:

    “book scented air freshener” – good one :)

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